Game: Bee Simulator
Genre: Simulation Game
System: Nintendo Switch (and other major platforms)
Developers|Publishers: Varsav| Bigben Interactive
Price: US $39.99 | AU $60.00 | CA $ 52.91|£34.99 | €39.99
Age Rating: EU 7| AU G| US E
Release Date: 14th November 2019
Review code used thanks to HomeRun PR
What you might expect from a Simulator titled game is either something silly, or an accurate simulation. Bee Simulator is neither, instead it is a story based adventure with an educational angle.
You are a pollen collector, and you’ll learn to take flight and collect pollen. Using your bee vision you can identify flowers that are colour coded by quality. Flying through the rings over the flowers will collect it. The pollen builds up as you collect it and you’ll have to drop it off to the hive once your pockets are full.
Gameplay outside of collecting is made up of a few mini games. You often need to follow bees, which involves avoiding obstacles while flying through the marker rings. It’s easily my least favourite aspect of the game. Especially since it stops you from straying too far, and in night scenes it was extra hard to see.
Combat is where you’ll notice the difference between the Easy and Hard difficulty. In Easy it’s almost like a rhythm game, while in Hard it’s more free form and you have directional inputs. Dancing is how you communicate to other bees, it’s quite easy as you just need to repeat their actions using directional input. Other than those there are a few other mini games that you might occasionally do.
Honey I’m Home!
Not only will you play these mini games to get through the story you can also find optional challenges. You can eat some sugar from human food. Doing this will fill up your veetro, allowing you to fly at a faster speed (though not inside). Which is helpful for long distance flying. You can find objectives through glowing beams, but you also have a radar which was useful. There are a few side quests as well, completing a couple of these will unlock different skins.
When completing objectives and optional challenges you are rewarded with knowledge points. These can be spent on a few things including customisation. With different skins based on bee species, little hats (including a Cowbee hat!) and different trails.
In the hive there is a statue hall which you can also purchase with your knowledge points. Unlocking them gives you 3D models of the animals and some information in the glossary. Feats can be achieved through various means such as story progression and balloon popping.
There is a separate split screen mode for two players in enclosed maps. Here you can compete against each other in the different mini games.
The game features full voice acting which is something I didn’t expect, but definitely appreciated. You can download voices for a few different languages to boot. The music suffices. There are motion like animated cutscenes and some beautiful loading screen illustrations with bee facts. Bee Simulator’s actual graphics are a bit poor. Seeming like they’re a from a couple of console generations ago. However it does look mostly the same in handheld. The environments that you traverse through are nicely built including a zoo, amusement park and a small lake.
If you occasionally or often get motion sickness when playing games then I cannot recommend this. As I managed to get motion sick during the tutorial. Playing in handheld alleviated it enough that I could get through the game but I still needed breaks. The camera swaying in battles and while dancing can be quite atrocious. Either way you’ll definitely need to adjust the stick sensitivity.
Writing in this game is pretty cute with some silly side quests and pop culture references. The educational aspect is a little under played, and some things are inaccurate for the sake of gameplay (especially the size of the bees). I’m also fairly sure bees can’t talk to squirrels but who knows really?
The story mode took me a couple of hours. There are a few side quests that you can’t do until you’ve beaten the game, some challenges and it would take a while to unlock everything.
My opinion is, that, given the graphical quality and length, I do think it’s overpriced. However it is a good children’s game (as long as they aren’t prone to motion sickness), and most would enjoy the post game free roaming. Excusing my motion sickness and the chase segments I did like it a little bit.
Paige’s verdict: I Like It (a Bit)
A second opinion: Ahromers’ thoughts
Sometimes one of our other writers also plays the game. In this case, Ashromer had already bought it herself before we even got a review code. And she isn’t having any trouble with the motion sickness! Which is why we felt it important to include her opinion as well. So, I now turn it over to Ashromer:
Oh my goddesses, I absolutely adore this game. The artwork, the music, the environments, the voice acting, the educational and learning aspect; this game makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Like being inside a honeybee hive!
You guys, I say it a lot, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE bees! I have even been contemplating a tattoo of a bee on my arm for several years now.
So this game… made me feel magical. Made me feel like I could see into the world of a bee if only for a brief moment. I love the way you go into the hive, and all the other bees are in there doing their bee stuff. I felt like an important part of a greater whole. A seriously felt a sense of belonging, and whenever my pollen baskets were full, I knew I had to make my way back because the hive was counting on me!
I mean, I know a lot about bees, and I know the game isn’t completely accurate. For example, when a female bee (as most bees are) is born, they actually start out as cleaners, then move into the nursery caring for the little baby bees, then builders, guards, and finally towards the end of their life cycles: foragers! It’s just so interesting and cool!
In this game, you visit the queen after you’re born and she just delegates you to forager right out of the gate. BUT, I think that’s more to get the fun factor in. I think I’m the only “weirdo” who wants to learn everything about bees and have it be 100% accurate. I would have LOVED to be a nanny bee for a while, and then make the hive cells, guard, and then forage, but that’s not how Bee Simulator works, and that is okay.
I personally didn’t feel any kind of motion sickness, or vertigo, or anything like that while playing. And you can fly in a full 360 degree way. I just flew upside down in the hive one time, and felt super rad doing it.
I would recommend this game to everyone. I hope so many people buy and play this game. This company deserves to be paid and supported for all their hard work. The game mixes lovely educational bits in with the joy of flying around as a cute fluffy honey bee.
I learnt a lot about bees, various types of flowers and animals, and my heart was full of joy the entire time.
And it is pretty satisfying when you fly around a human child and they start crying! MWAHAHA! The world is lucky I’m NOT a bee.
Ashromers’ verdict: I Like it a Lot!